Hot Topic That Week

How To Talk To Your Kid About Disabilities

We know the value of talking to kids about inclusion, whether it’s in regard to race, gender, religion or sexuality. But what many conversations about diversity often leave out is disability.

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Accessibility news archive

Here's what happened in the accessibility world from February 28–March 6, 2021

Be sure to check Accessibility News Briefly for the latest news and updates — and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly recaps right to your inbox. It's the easiest way to stay informed.

As a reminder, we provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products.

The Pandemic Is Forcing Sign Language to Evolve

March 6, 2021, Freethink: Chances are your life underwent some pandemic-related adjustments over the past year — maybe you started working from home, or had to give up date nights out for movie nights in — but you probably didn't have to change the way you speak.

Blind students at Davis Technical College learn precision machining

March 6, 2021, KSL TV: Blind students at Davis Technical College in Kaysville have taken advantage of a machining program that could lead them to dream jobs in the aerospace industry. It is the only program of its kind in the nation that is offered to the blind.

How YouTube's new audio feature is helping Ubisoft make its trailers more accessible

March 6, 2021, TechRadar: In 2020, YouTube released a new audio track feature into beta, and shared it with a small number of creators. One of those creators was game publisher and developer Ubisoft, which saw audio tracks as presenting an opportunity to improve the accessibility features of its game trailers.

How to Control Your Chromebook with Only Three Buttons Using Switch Access

March 6, 2021, Chrome Unboxed: The Chromebook team has gone out of its way to make their devices extremely accessible over the years, and it has plenty in the way of new features coming soon. One such feature called Switch Access is already widely available. It allows you to control your entire Chromebook with just three keyboard keys! Today, we’re going to show you how to do just that so you can navigate your Chromebook like a boss with one hand.

EDITORIAL: Remote work allows more accessibility, but poses risk for overworking, increasing disparity

March 5, 2021, The Daily Free Press: Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration are planning for a permanent hybrid or remote work option for state employees after the pandemic. This means up to half of the state workforce could be conducting work virtually, even after offices reopen.

I’ve just won a scholarship. So the Government wants to take away my disability allowance

March 5, 2021, The Irish Times: I have always been a firm believer in playing to your strengths. As a young disabled person, that is certainly the motto I go by. So let me ask you one thing: have you ever been penalised for trying to play to your strengths?

Zoom Commits To Improving Accessibility

March 5, 2021, Disability Scoop: Zoom says it is enhancing its service in order to be more accessible to users with disabilities. The video conferencing platform that’s become ubiquitous as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept people from meeting in person said it will add automatic closed captioning to its free accounts.

Media urged to recognize shift from “Autism Awareness Month” to “Autism Acceptance Month” this April

March 4, 2021, Globe Newswire: Today, the Autism Society of America, along with leading disability organizations across the country, is announcing that it is formally shifting references of “Autism Awareness Month” to “Autism Acceptance Month” and is calling on the media to reflect this in their ongoing coverage.

Vaccinate High-Risk People with Disabilities. Now.

March 4, 2021, Ms.: I am an immunocompromised person with disabilities. I take three potent immunosuppressants to control my rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with as an infant. I should have gotten the COVID vaccine long ago. But because I’m under 65, I’m still waiting.

Egypt’s orchestra for blind women is challenging stereotypes with incredible music-making

March 4, 2021, Classic FM: Egypt’s visually-impaired women’s orchestra is challenging stereotypes with its incredible music-making. The Al Nour Wal Amal orchestra, meaning ‘light and hope’ in Arabic, is a chamber ensemble of 44 women, established in 1971.

Alabama’s Helen Keller was more than a hero for the disabled

March 4, 2021, Alabama NewsCenter: She could neither see nor hear. But her vision influenced countless millions. Helen Keller’s influence reached far beyond her native Alabama. She became a celebrity at an early age and remained so throughout her life.

Duckworth, Norton call for improved accessibility for the blind at FDR memorial

March 3, 2021, The Hill: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) on Tuesday called for improvements to accessibility for disabled visitors at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

Accessible Design Matters - RNIB Creates A Revolutionary Prototype Of A Pregnancy Test For Blind And Partially Sighted People

March 3, 2021, Forbes: To start changing public opinion on personal privacy and control of information through the lens of accessibility, as well as challenge businesses to build accessibility into product designs might look like a very hard task to do, because, essentially, you need to convince people that inaccessible design is bad design. And when you think about it - it really is that only when we have a problem (especially if it’s related to our health) we start seeing a full array of challenges connected to it.

How to Communicate Through Facial Expressions

March 2, 2021, The New York Times: “Be comfortable using your face,” writes Regan Thibodeau, 42, a certified deaf interpreter who translates statewide coronavirus briefings in Maine and was interviewed via email. Don’t view facial expressions as an afterthought; think of them as an essential tool for communication. “Hearing children are conditioned not to make faces because it is ‘rude’ in the hearing culture along with pointing,” Thibodeau says. “It is the opposite for the deaf culture.” Thibodeau didn’t learn to sign until she was 6, because, she says, her mother was in denial of her deafness. All she had were facial expressions.

Disabled Floridians Face Accessibility Issues At State Capitol

March 2, 2021, WMFE: Florida residents with disabilities who wish to have their voices heard by state lawmakers in Tallahassee have been struggling with accessibility issues since even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Differences, Not Deficits: Working With Neurodiverse Clients

March 1, 2021, InsuranceNewsNet: When we talk about autism in the insurance industry, most of the time we talk in terms of the “child.” The thing about children with autism, though, is that eventually they turn into adults with autism. I would know — I am one of them.

Investigation: COVID-19 websites create inequity for the blind

March 1, 2021, New Hampshire Union Leader: Many COVID-19 vaccination registration and information websites at the federal, state and local levels violate disability rights laws, hindering the ability of blind people to sign up for a potentially lifesaving vaccine, a Kaiser Health News investigation has found.

How to Craft Inclusive And Accessible Digital Experiences

March 1, 2021, CustomerThink: Inclusivity and accessibility are words which have a greater importance in the digital marketing world than people might initially think. But what does it mean to be inclusive and accessible? It may imply creating content which is sensitive and welcoming to differences in race, gender, or cultural background. However, these are only some of the ways marketers can embrace these attitudes.

Disability employment: The cost of exclusion

March 1, 2021, INTHEBLACK: Since he was 14, Natale Cutri ASA had his heart set on becoming an accountant. “I was very clear in my ambition,” he recalls. Unfortunately, others were not always willing to support the vision-impaired teenager in achieving his dream.

On the fast track to accessible subways: The MTA says it’s advancing the goal

March 1, 2021, New York Daily News: The pandemic hit our heroic workforce hard and devastated the MTA financially. But our commitment to achieving system-wide accessibility for transit has not wavered: even with less money to spend and less certainty about future funding, we have kept advancing accessibility projects. Our priorities remain unchanged. To speed our recovery from the pandemic, we more than ever need a transit system that truly serves all New Yorkers.

Building the ultimate laptop for accessibility: Features to help those with disabilities

February 28, 2021, LaptopMag: People are rightfully excited about Apple’s M1 MacBook, Intel 11th Gen CPUs, and AMD chips in Chromebooks, but what about laptop design for the disabled? According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the population, or 1 billion people, have a disability, and 2% to 4% of that number has significant disabilities. Yet, idealized depictions of the future often have wild, stylish gadgets that are easy for everyone to use. In order to create such a future, we have to explore how the disabled — and therefore, how everyone — can benefit from consumer technology.

5 Questions That Help Define The Outlines Of Disability Advocacy

February 28, 2021, Forbes: What is the shape of disability activism? There is a lot of natural variation in the large and diverse disabled population, and many different opinions among the smaller core of committed disability activists. But there are some beliefs, positions, and mindsets that shape the community of individuals and organizations loosely referred to as “Disability Activism.” They aren’t exactly boundaries or litmus tests. They are more like magnets that draw disability advocates in certain directions. What are these key positions? How do we identify them?